How do I drop the shame? It's not productive. There's no benefit. If anything, it makes me less likely to do the things I want to. Is this something in my head that I can fix?
Actually, the link Moo just posted can be a really helpful start. Look up some writing by Marianne Kirby, Leslie Kinzel, Kate Harding (just going to go ahead and link one of my favourites directly) et al. It's very hard to drop the shame when you don't have all the resources needed for combatting cultural messages telling you to be ashamed. Reading through some of those can be a great help intellectually, because it helps you identify the source of a lot of the shame, and understanding where it's coming from on an intellectual level is, I have found, half the battle. I would liken the process to... ok, you know how sometimes you'll find yourself in a shitty mood one day, and yo
u're not sure of the cause? So you can wallow, or distract yourself, or maybe you have a coping mechanism that works well when you're down. But if you can figure out the source of the sadness and address it, you (or I, at any rate) often end up feeling a great deal better, because something actually gets resolved, the cause gets treated rather than the symptoms. Reading the work of body acceptance bloggers has felt, to me, like addressing the cause directly. A lot of the "it's ok, you're beautiful on the inside!" or "wear some makeup and the problem will go away" messages I got in my teens really were very surface-level, symptom-treating approaches by comparison, so it was no wonder that they hadn't quite explain xkcd 599 fashion done the trick.
Something very visceral and plainly visual that I think is pretty cool is the Adipositivity Project - we're so used to seeing thin bodies depicted as beautiful, and it's very rare to see nonslim bodies treated as lovingly by a camera. Or, in fact, seen at all. So, another thing you can do to help you see your own body in a more positive light is just to look at it more often. When you're just hangin' out alone in the house, or sleeping or whatnot, try out being naked more than you normally would. It did absolute wonders for me to start sleeping sans pyjamas during the summer, because I was so unaccustomed to the sight of my body being bare unless it was being actively scrutinised. Seeing it regularly, it's hard to feel active shame toward it, because it becomes so familiar; it's hard to process it as something outside yourself and worthy of rebuke when you can watch it just being there, being yours and being useful.
Plasmic-Turtle wrote:I have found that changing boyfriends can be a brilliant helpThat's a pretty big factor too. I have been lucky enough never to be with a guy who belittled my body. You've met me; I'm not slim (though we were dressed differently enough that this may not have been visible, I think we're built on very similar lines, actually). I kind of presumed throughout high school that most people just didn't find bodies like mine desirable, so that certainly didn't help with the self esteem. But then I met a guy who thought my body was wonderful, and then we broke up and I was worried I would never meet another one... and then I did. And then I did again. And it turns out that actually, lots of people find bodies like ours desirable. It's possible that many people don't, but that's ok. We're like arthouse movies - maybe not popular enough to be a summer blockbuster, but that just means we get a small cult of discerning fans, rather than a great big mass of people who find us attractive, some of whom we find pretty unpleasant ourselves. I've had to deal with far fewer shallow creeps hitting on me than some of my slimmer friends who conform more to conventional attractiveness standards. I think that's because there's a lot of pressure on people, especially men, to choose culturally approved people to date, and people can get a lot of flack for expressing any attraction to someone who falls outside the culturally mandated norm. So the people who are brave enough to acknowledge their desires even when they don't fit those norms - people who find fat women beautiful, for example - are often quite cool people in other ways, and just by hitting on me and making it clear through their approach and their words that they think I'm awesome, they're demonstrating that in at least one area, they're willing to give cultural norms the finger. So in some ways I bless my size, because it filters out all the people who aren't brave enough to do that even if they do find me attractive.
I, uh, have no idea how coherent that was; been staying overnight in the hospital while my grandfather's an inpatient, and not getting the greatest sleep. So I hope it's of some use.
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